Brussels, November 20, 2023 – Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku scored four goals in the first half as Belgium demolished Azerbaijan, who played with only 10 players, in the Euro 2024 qualifiers.
The 30-year-old player has now accumulated 83 goals in 113 appearances for Belgium, making him the seventh-highest scorer in the history of men’s international football.
Lukaku opened the scoring with a header from Jeremy Doku’s cross before Eddy Israfilov was sent off. He then scored a second goal by capitalizing on Timothy Castagne’s knockdown, nodded in Wout Faes’ cross for the third goal, and scored again from Orel Mangala’s pass, all before halftime.
Leandro Trossard added a fifth goal for Belgium late in the game after receiving a cross from Doku. All five goals were set up by players based in England.
This marks Lukaku’s first international quadruple, having achieved it once before in his club career during Everton’s 6-3 Premier League victory over Bournemouth in February 2017.
With his 14 goals in the qualifiers, Lukaku is far ahead of his closest competitors, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe, who scored 10 and 9 goals respectively in this campaign.
The total of 14 goals sets a record for a European Championship qualifying campaign, surpassing the previous benchmark of 13 set by Northern Ireland’s David Healy in 2008 and equaled by Poland’s Robert Lewandowski in 2016.z z z z z z z z z z z z
With this victory, Belgium, who had already secured their place in Euro 2024, surpassed Austria to finish at the top of Group F. They remain undefeated since coach Domenico Tedesco joined in February.
Sweden, whose qualification hopes were already dashed, defeated Estonia 2-0 in Stockholm in the group’s other fixture.